The Whiffenpoofs, Yale’s oldest and arguably most famous a capella group, will deck the halls of the White House with boughs of harmony on Dec. 13 when the group sings for the First Family and their guests.
“We will be singing a series of holiday songs woven in with our traditional mixed-genre repertoire,” wrote Whiffenpoof business manager Alexander Oki in an email. The group received the invitation from the White House in late October, he noted.
Barack Obama is not the first sitting president to be serenaded by the Whiffs, and the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. isn’t the only White House the all-male 14-member group has played in its 102-year history. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush have also hosted the group; and in 2002 the fictional President Josiah Bartlet enjoyed the songsters’ holiday medley in the faux White House on the Hollywood set of “West Wing.” Other notable American venues that have served as a platform for the group include Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Rose Bowl, and the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
On Dec. 17, the Yale group will join peers from Harvard and Princeton at Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan in a benefit concert for The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation & The Trevor Project.
The Whiffenpoofs will sing in the New Year with a two-week tour to the Four Corners States (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona). In February its members will make history when they become the first class of Whiffs to tour Antarctica. Finally, notes Oki “The Whiffenpoofs plan to visit the remaining four continents during their annual World Tour, from May until August 2012.”